ITV (TV channel)

This article is about the British television channel. For the ITV Network as a whole, see ITV (TV network). For the regional franchise serving Scotland, see STV (TV channel) and for the regional franchise serving Northern Ireland, UTV (TV channel). For the channel's owner, see ITV plc. For other meanings, see ITV.

ITV logo used since 2013
Launched 22 September 1955 (1955-09-22)
Network ITV
Owned by ITV plc
Picture format 576i (SDTV);
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share ITV Network:
0.75% (+1)
2.77% (HD) (October 2015 (2015-10), BARB)
Slogan Come on in
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Broadcast area England, Wales, South Scotland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands
Formerly called ITV1
(2001 to 2013, and later renamed with the former channel)
Replaced Anglia Television, Border Television, Carlton Television, Central Independent Television, Channel Television, Granada Television, HTV, LWT, Meridian Broadcasting, Tyne Tees Television, Westcountry Television and Yorkshire Television
(on 28 October 2002)
Sister channel(s) ITV2
ITV Encore
The Store
Timeshift service ITV +1
Freeview Channel 3
Channel 33 (+1)
Channel 103 (HD)
Freesat Channel 103
Channel 111 (HD)
Channel 112 (+1)
Channel 977 (AD) (ITV London)
Sky UK only Channel 103
Channel 131 (+1)
Channel 178 (HD)
Channel 973 (AD) (ITV London)
Astra 2E 10758 V 22000 5/6
10891 H 22000 5/6 (+1)
10832 H 22000 5/6 (HD)
Eutelsat 10A
NSS 12
NSS 806
Virgin Media Channel 103
Channel 113 (HD)
Channel 114 (+1)
Channel 853 (AD) (ITV London)
Channel 217 (ITV London)
UPC Cablecom
Channel 159/175 (ITV London)
WightFibre Channel 3
Freewire Channel 103
Channel arbitrary
Streaming media
ITV Hub Watch live
(ITV London, ITV regions only)
TVPlayer Watch live (UK only)
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live
(ITV London, UK only)
Sky Go Watch live
(UK and Ireland only)

ITV is a commercial television channel in the United Kingdom. Previously a network of separate regional television channels, ITV currently operates in England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands.

From 2001 until 2013, the channel was called ITV1. In 2004, Granada Television acquired Carlton Communications to form ITV plc.

ITV is the biggest and most popular commercial television channel in the United Kingdom. ITV and its predecessor channels have contended with BBC One for the status of the UK's most watched television channel since the 1950s. However, in line with other terrestrial channels, ITV's audience share has fallen in the era of multi-channel television.


Main article: History of ITV

Following the creation of the Television Act 1954, the establishment of a commercial television service in the UK began.

The Independent Television service, or ITV, was made up of regions, with each region run by different companies. The three largest regions (London, the Midlands and the North of England) were subdivided into weekday and weekend services, with a different company running each. ITV existed in a region-heavy form from its inception to the 2000s, although the switch was gradual.

ITV1 became the generic on-screen brand name used by the twelve franchises of the ITV Network in the United Kingdom. The brand was introduced in 2001 by Carlton- and Granada-owned franchises, initially used alongside the local regional name. However, it became the sole on-air identity in 2002 when the two companies decided to create a single unified playout of the channel, with regional references only used prior to regional programming. Carlton and Granada went on to merge in 2004, creating ITV plc which now owns thirteen of the fifteen regional ITV licences.

The ITV1 name was only used in England, Wales, Southern Scotland and Isle of Man until Channel Television adopted the name in January 2006, bringing it to the Channel Islands. It should be noted, however, that as national continuity is often used on Channel Television, ITV1 national branding had been seen on the station for several years previously.

The licencees that used the ITV1 brand were Anglia Television, Border Television, Carlton Television, Central Independent Television, Channel Television, Granada Television, ITV Wales & West, London Weekend Television, Meridian Broadcasting, Tyne Tees Television, Westcountry Television and Yorkshire Television.

ITV Wales & West was the only exception, using the name ITV1 Wales at all times for the Welsh part of its broadcast area as it has a higher regional commitment. Latterly the ITV1 Wales name was only used on breakbumpers and regionally advertised programmes. Non ITV plc-owned licencees on the network generally did not refer to the ITV1 name.

The network production arms of the ITV-plc owned licencees have been gradually combined since 1993 to eventually form ITV Studios.

Corporate unification

ITV share of viewing 1981-2007 BARB figures
Flow diagram displaying consolidation of ITV franchises into ITV plc

ITV was formed by the unification of eleven of the ITV licences. The Broadcasting Act 1990 changed many of the rules regulating the ITV Network, which most notably relaxed franchise ownership and hours of production. However, as far back as 1974, Yorkshire Television and its North East neighbour, Tyne Tees Television, formally created Trident Television, a merged entity of the two companies. By 1981 due to regulation, the company was forced to de-merge, however they resumed their alliance in 1993 as Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television, which therefore owned the two franchises and integrated the two company's assets more than its predecessor.

However, the intense race to own more of the ITV Network began in 1994 when Carlton Communications, the owner of London weekday broadcaster Carlton Television, took control of Central Independent Television in the Midlands. Literally days afterwards, Granada plc, owner of Granada Television of the North West purchased London Weekend Television. Meridian's owner, Mills and Allen International, then went on to purchase Anglia Television in the same year, before merging to become United News and Media (UNM) in 1995. UNM then went on to purchase Wales and West broadcaster, HTV in 1996, while Carlton purchased Westcountry Television later that year. Granada then agreed a deal to take over Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television in 1997, giving the broadcaster access to both Yorkshire and North East franchises.

There was no movement in the take-over of franchises until 2000 when Border Television and all of its radio assets were sold to Capital Radio Group, who consequently sold the television broadcasting arm to Granada Media Group. Granada then went on to purchase all of UNM's television interests (including its ITV franchises), which brought Meridian, Anglia and HTV into its power, however due to regulation Granada was forced to sell HTV to Carlton. By this time, all of the franchises in England and Wales were owned by either Carlton or Granada.

In 2004, Granada plc officially merged with Carlton Communications, creating ITV plc, although it was a takeover by Granada in effect. In 2011, ITV plc acquired Channel Television from its private owners Yattendon Group plc. On 19 October 2015 ITV announced they were to buy UTV for £100 subject to regulatory approval. The deal also included UTV Ireland, UTV's Irish channel. Unlike other ITV franchises owned by ITV plc that use the ITV name, the UTV name will be retained.

Regional variations

ITV consists of eleven franchises in England and Wales which broadcast regional news and other local programming to its area. Many franchise areas in England previously had sub-regions providing separate regional news bulletins. For example, the Anglia region was divided into West and East. This arrangement came to an end in February 2009 when ITV implemented plans to save the company £40m a year on the amount it spent making local news.

Since 27 October 2002, all ITV plc-owned franchises, regional programming was either preceded or plugged by an oral regional announcement, in the format ITV1 regional brand, e.g. ITV1 Granada. In English regions, up until 13 November 2006, regional names were also superimposed (post-production) on these idents below the ITV1 logo, however this practice has since ceased. ITV Wales remains unaffected and still continues to use dual-branding across all of its on-screen presentation. Despite the lack of regional names on screen, the regional name is usually spoken by the announcer prior to local programmes. After ITV's unification in 2002, the two London franchises, Carlton Television and London Weekend Television were merged into a single entity, ITV London, while the Wales and West franchise lost its official identity and instead was substituted with ITV Wales and ITV West on-air, with no reference linking the two together (the licence was formally split in two by Ofcom from 1 January 2014).

Channel Television adopted the ITV1 brand on-air prior to the 2011 ITV plc takeover of the channel.

Areas with full ITV branding and continuity:

Broadcast area Pre-ITV1 branding Post-ITV1 branding
English-Scottish border/Isle of Man Border Television ITV
North East England Tyne Tees Television ITV
Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Yorkshire Television ITV
North West England Granada Television ITV
Wales HTV Wales ITV Cymru Wales
West of England HTV West ITV
The Midlands Central Independent Television[1] ITV
East of England Anglia Television ITV
London (weekdays) ITV London ITV
London (weekends) LWT (London Weekend Television) ITV
South and South East England Meridian Broadcasting ITV
South West England Westcountry Television[1] ITV
Channel Islands Channel Television ITV Channel Television

In the English regions, the channel has been known from 2006 until 2013 as ITV1 and since 14 January 2013 as ITV at all times. Regional references no longer appear before any programming at all in these areas. Channel Television still used its own idents, promos and breakbumper etc. until 2013, when it began using the 2013 ITV idents, promos, and breakbumpers (the "Channel Television" name is still namechecked during on-air announcements)and on promos for channel television's non news programmes and regional news and weather, even though Channel Television is now owned by ITV plc.

Areas without full ITV branding and continuity:

Broadcast area Present Branding Former Branding
Northern Ireland UTV Ulster Television***
Northern Scotland STV (North) Grampian Television
Central Scotland STV (Central) Scottish Television

Proposed regional changes

In June 2007, ITV plc executive chairman Michael Grade hinted at a possible re-structure of the ITV regional layout, stating the existence of smaller regional services "no longer makes sense" relative to the regional audience they serve.[2]

The plan was confirmed in September 2007, reducing the number of regional news programmes from 17 to just 9, saving around £35 to £40 million each year, and affecting every ITV plc regional company with the exception of ITV London, ITV Wales and ITV Granada. These changes were implemented in early 2009. All sub-regional news programmes ceased, ITV Border's Lookaround programme was merged with ITV Tyne Tees' North East Tonight programme, ITV Westcountry's Westcountry Live merged with ITV West's The West Tonight programme, and ITV Meridian's Meridian Tonight south and south east editions merged with ITV Thames Valley's Thames Valley Tonight.

On 16 September 2013 ITV reverted to a more localised system, as was the case prior to a shake-up in 2009, with 14 news regions (rather than eight).[3] This meant people in the Borders, for example, saw a return to a Border-only news service, with all stories covered solely on Southern Scotland and Cumbria, similar to the pre-Tyne Tees merger in February 2009.[4] Meanwhile, in the Westcountry, viewers in Devon and Cornwall also saw a return to a more localised service.


ITV Reem (typeface used since 2013)

Independent Television (1955–1989)

From the founding of the ITV Network in 1955, it was known nationally as Independent Television (later ITV) and locally by the regional branding of the local ITV franchise operator.

ITV (1989–2001)

In 1989, the ITV Association set out a generic presentation package with a new "ITV" logo, which included idents, promotions and general on and off air design, and an edit of this package was designed for each franchise holder. The dual branded idents included a large "ITV" logo, in which the "V" contained part of the franchise's logo, and written below the logo in a grey capitalised font was the name of the regional broadcaster. However, only half of the regional broadcasters opted to use the package, which had completely failed by 1997.

"TV from the Heart" (1999-2001)

In 1999, another second common presentation package (once again using dual-branding with the ITV name) was launched, under the theme, "TV from the Heart". Like the 1989 attempt, a version was created for every franchise holder, however it was only taken by nine of the fifteen ITV broadcasters, two of which resorted to other designs, being London Weekend Television, which actually used the look for a year but then adopted a more original look (claiming it "wasn't exciting enough"), and HTV which adopted Carlton's identity [Note 1] when it was purchased by the company in 2001. Carlton, owner of three ITV licences at the time, did not adopt the generic look and instead used another package designed by Lambie-Nairn, which again followed the "TV from the Heart" theme, however with more emphasis on the Carlton corporate identity.

ITV1 (2001–2013)

By 2001, all eleven franchises of England and Wales were owned by either Granada plc or Carlton Communications, and a new common name, ITV1, was launched on 11 August 2001 to coincide with digital channel ITV2. The existing "Hearts" idents were simply re-edited.

However, from 28 October 2002, in England, the Scottish/English Border and Isle of Man (where all the franchises are owned by ITV plc), the station dropped regional branding and identification before most programming and adopted a unified national branding of ITV1. In Wales, although the HTV name has been dropped, some regional identification remains in the form of ITV1 Wales. At this time all regional continuity announcers were replaced with a single team of six national continuity announcers. Since the re-brand of 2006, that team has been reduced to just four.

In January 2006, the channel adopted a new on-air look to coincide with the launch of ITV4, designed mainly to improve cross-channel promotion across ITV's multichannel presence. The new logo brought ITV1, ITV2 and ITV3 in line with ITV4's, and had been observed on various billboard ads in the UK when the new identity was first used on-screen on 16 January 2006. The overhaul also put an end to the former ITV Day brand, which was axed in favour of a full-time ITV1 identity.

On 13 November 2006, a new set of idents replaced the previous set which debuted in January, the theme being "alive with colour". The initial set consisted of 'Beach', 'Bike', 'Lake' and 'Market'; 'Basketball' and 'Pavement Art' were added later in the year. They were created by Blink Productions for ITV, unlike the old idents which were masterminded by Red Bee Media. The logo remained the same in essence; only the 'itv' lettering was inverted from its previous white state to black, to allow it to stand out against the yellow more.[5]

On 3 September 2007, four more idents where added to the set, featuring 'Bubbles', 'Fountains', 'Garden' and 'Buildings', and as of 19 September 2009, all now have 'the brighter side' on their breakbumpers. On 9 April 2010, four more idents where added to the set, 'Lanterns', 'Sunflowers', 'Snakes and Ladders' and 'Dodgems', featuring an updated ITV1 logo as seen on ITV1 HD.

In September 2009 ITV plc announced that ITV1 +1, a one-hour time-shift version of ITV1, would launch in October 2009 from 10.25 am to 7 am daily. The hours covered by GMTV from 7 am to 10.25 am will not originally have been included in the relay.[6] The channel launched on 11 January 2011.


In 2005, ITV plc introduced a new channel branding called ITV Day, used to identify ITV1 between 9.25 am and 6.00 pm. ITV Day was treated as a separate entity to ITV1 and featured its own presentation set focusing using the colours of red, orange and yellow and featured scenes of typical "daytime" activities. Promotions were used in a similar format to ITV1, and all daytime programmes advertised within ITV1 hours were branded with the ITV Day logo. A similar "UTV Day" branding was adopted in Northern Ireland.

2013 rebranding

On 15 November 2012, it was announced that as part of a major rebranding, ITV1 was renamed back to its previous name, ITV. In addition to this, ITV had a new colour-changing logo stylised as handwriting, that changed colour depending on the programming it is used on. It was revealed that the logo had green and purple for Dancing on Ice, and green and brown for I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.[7] The overhaul is linked to ITV's attempt to cut costs, curb debts and reduce the company's reliance on advertising. This overhaul of their brand affected all ITV plc channels and online services. The rebrand went live on 14 January 2013, at the same time as the other ITV channels. Also for the first time in its history, a digital on-screen graphic (DOG) was introduced.

Notable programming

Spin-off channels


Main article: ITV HD

A high-definition simulcast of ITV, ITV HD, debuted on 2 December 2009 with the technical launch of the Freeview HD service. The channel has its roots in ITV HD, which began as a trial service in 2006 on a low-power digital terrestrial (DVB-T) channel from London's Crystal Palace transmitting station, and on Telewest TV Drive cable service. The channel was revived on 7 June 2008 in time for the UEFA Euro 2008 football tournament, this time exclusively available on the Freesat digital satellite service [8][9] With its debut on Freeview HD, the channel was re-branded as ITV1 HD in December 2009.[10]

ITV +1

On 1 September 2009 it was announced that ITV would get a one-hour timeshift on digital satellite and Virgin Media, on 1 October 2009, subject to the Competition Commission's ruling on the contract rights renewal system.[11][12] However, on 18 September 2009, it was announced that ITV1 +1 had been postponed until further notice.[13] Prior to this announcement, EPG data for the service had appeared on satellite.[14]

The Competition Commission delayed the final decision in its review of ITV's Contract Rights Renewal undertakings to the end of February 2010 because it had to consider the "significant" submissions it has received.[15]

On 19 January 2010, the Competition Commission delivered its provisional findings, ruling that audiences for both ITV1 +1 and ITV1 HD will be accredited to ITV1's commercial impacts.[16] The Competition Commission recognised that the broadcaster had been deterred from launching new ways of delivering ITV1, because of the way media buying is currently conducted under the established contracts rights renewal (CRR) mechanism. However, the regulator rejected ITV's proposed removal of large elements of the "outdated" CRR Undertakings while maintaining an obligation on ITV to offer ITV1 airtime on "fair and reasonable" terms. The Competition Commission announced that such a change would leave the process too open to interpretation and that they were "not likely to be either practicable or effective in addressing the adverse effects of the merger".

On 12 May 2010, the Competition Commission stood by its provisional decision to retain the contracts rights renewal system – but it added that the mechanism should be dropped at some point and that the entire UK TV ad sales market needs a review.[17][18][19] "ITV1 remains a 'must have' for certain advertisers and certain types of campaign," said the chairman of the CRR review group at the Competition Commission, Diana Guy. "Despite all the changes in this market, no other channel or medium can come close to matching the size of audience that ITV regularly provides. So the essential reason for the CRR undertakings remains: to protect advertisers and other commercial broadcasters." The ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier, said that the ruling was "out of touch and damaging for the interests of creative Britain". He added that it was "unlikely" that ITV would look to seek a judicial review but that ITV would redouble its lobbying campaign for a liberalisation of regulation and "urgent modernisation" of competition law. But the commission said there was "virtual unanimity" among advertisers, media agencies, commercial broadcasters and trade bodies that CRR should be kept "in some form". The commission confirmed that the CRR remedy should be broadened to include ITV+1 and ITV's high definition channels.

On 27 July 2010, the House Of Lords confirmed plans to launch an inquiry into the television advertising market, which "paid particular attention" to the CRR mechanism.[20] The Lords committee investigated the declining revenues that commercial broadcasters gain from the sale of advertising across their networks. The members also considered possible changes to current ad market regulation, including the CRR system, product placement rules and the scheduling and sale of advertising. The committee wanted to hear evidence on the current levels of regulation and what impact a relaxation of the rules could have had on the commercial broadcasting sector. Interested parties submitted written evidence to the inquiry on 24 September 2010, with oral evidence been heard in October. A written report was expected to follow in late 2010 or early 2011.

On 3 August 2010, ITV plc announced the launch of ITV1 +1 would take place in Q1 2011,[21] with BARB later reporting that the channel would be launched on 11 January 2011.[22] In December 2010 full testing of all six regions began on satellite.

ITV1 +1 was launched on 11 January 2011 on Freesat channel 112, Freeview channel 33, Sky channel 131 and Virgin Media channel 114.[23] ITV1 broadcasts 22 different editions of digital satellite, but the timeshift service originally only transmitted six macro regional variants:[24]

On 1 March 2012, four additional variations were launched for the Anglia Television, Tyne Tees Television, West and Westcountry Television regions, with the South East Macro becoming Meridian Broadcasting, West Macro becoming Wales and Yorkshire/Tyne Tees Macro becoming Yorkshire Television.

The channel was rebranded as ITV +1 on 14 January 2013 as part of the rebranding of ITV's television channels and ITV's online services.

Availability outside the UK

ITV channels are available on cable and IPTV in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In the Republic of Ireland, ITV (as UTV) was widely available however, UTV Ireland was launched in 2015 and replaced UTV in the Republic of Ireland.

Since 27 March 2013, ITV London has been offered by British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) to members of HM Forces and their families around the world, replacing the BFBS3 TV channel, which already carried a selection of ITV programmes.[25]



  1. The opening films was retained, but the endings was in the "Hearts" style. Check TV Ark.


  1. 1 2 "The Carltonisation of ITV.". Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  2. "Grade hints at ITV region restructure". Digital Spy. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  3. Press Gazette Ofcom slashes number of regional news minutes
  4. ATV ITV Border service returns with quiet re-launch
  5. Deans, Jason (13 November 2006). "ITV1 rolls out more idents". London: Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2006.
  6. "ITV1+1 to launch in October". Marketing Magazine. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  7. "ITV1 to become ITV in channel rebrand". The Daily Telegraph. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  8. "Confirmed: ITV HD is Freesat exclusive". Digital Spy. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  9. "HD version of ITV to launch next Spring". Digital Spy. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  10. "ITV HD will relaunch for Freeview HD". What Satellite & Digital TV. 7 August 2009.
  11. "Implementation – ITV1+1". AGB Nielsen Media Research. 1 September 2009.
  12. "ITV to wait for CRR ruling before launching +1 channel". AGB Nielsen Media Research. 3 September 2009.
  13. "ITV postpones ITV1+1 launch". Digital Spy. 18 September 2009.
  14. "ITV1+1 data appears on Sky's EPG". Digital Spy. 17 September 2009.
  15. "CRR decision put back as commission chews on submissions". Brand Republic. 2 December 2009.
  16. "ITV given green light for +1 and HD channels under CRR". Media Week. 19 January 2010.
  17. Sweney, Mark (12 May 2010). "ITV's CRR ad rules stay – for now". London: The Guardian.
  18. "CC publishes final decision on PUBLISHES" (PDF). Competition Commission. 12 May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 January 2012.
  19. "ITV Statement In Response To The Competition Commission's Final Decision On Contract Rights Renewal (CRR)". ITV plc. 12 May 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011.
  20. "Lords to review ITV1's CRR mechanism". Digital Spy. 28 July 2010.
  21. "ITV plc 2010 Interim Results & Sky deal". ITV plc. 3 August 2010.
  22. "ITV1+1 sets January launch date". Digital Spy. 14 December 2010.
  23. "ITV1+1 to launch tonight". Digital Spy. 11 January 2011.
  24. "ITV to launch ITV1+1 channel". Digital Spy. 1 September 2009.
  25. BFBS TV Set For A Makeover On 27th March, BFBS

External links

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